Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Observation and Encouragement

There is one thing I am noticing about our 6 year old Coach Pitch team.  First, the obvious - the boys are all six or almost six!   Second, they are all heart.  They love their team, they love the game, they love their coaches and they love to be on the field.  The love of these boys brings forth such strong emotions for the sport.  It is refreshing to see the pure JOY on their faces when they make a good catch, have an awesome hit or hear their name cheered from the crowd. However, it is absolutely heartbreaking to see the disappointment when they strike out, are tagged out or miss a play.  The weight of the world seems to be on their shoulders. 

Last night, our boys lost 12-2.  We beat this team last week, but were told it would not happen again.  There boys had not even practiced when we played and are mostly 6, 7 and 8 year olds according to one of their parents.  The boys were not discouraged by being behind.  Maybe one good thing about being so young is that for many the score doesn't even cross their mind until the end of the game.  As I said, we lost, but there were some amazing moments in the game.  Our third baseman had several awesome plays.  Our shortstop was great as well as our second baseman.  Our first baseman made several great throws and made several outs.  For a young team, we have some really good moments.  I am rather partial with respect to our catcher, but then again, he is mine! 

I see improvements each game and every practice.  It is a wonderful thing to experience.  Austin Kieff loves being behind the plate.  Last night there was a play that tangled him up pretty good with a member of the opposing team.  He dropped the ball and missed the tag.  Devastation.  Later, after another missed catch he was furious with himself and the throw.  While I will console his hurt and disappointment, displays of poor sportsmanship, no matter how small will not be tolerated.  Slapping his glove against his leg and stomping his foot got our little boy a long talking to last night.  Not in front of everyone (a stern AK, NO! did the trick), but once we were home.  We told him he has to be a leader on the field and off the field.  He needs to work to control his emotions and pray for strength to do so.  His Daddy did talk to him in the dugout, which set those emotions on overdrive for a few seconds.  It was an emotional night for several of our players.  The good thing is at this age the boys are quick to get upset and quick to rebound. 

Uplifting these players with positive encouragement is goal for me this season.  I want them to do their best each time.  I would love for them to get a hit every at bat, make every catch, win every game, but regardless, doing their best is enough.  In this age group (maybe every age group...), I think it is okay to cheer for both sides.  It is especially okay to encourage every player on the field, to recognize awesome plays, hits and effort.  I pray coaches, parents and fans are mindful of what they say and how they say it.  Words cannot be taken back.

I have to remind myself that Austin Kieff is six.  He loves baseball and has an excellent knowledge base for his age.  However, he is only six.  Knowing what to do and being able to do it every time during the game are very different.  I pray my attitude, the attitude of his dad, fans and coaches is one of encouragement.  I love to hear our coaches tell the boys great job, way to hustle, you are doing so much better.  I think losing teaches important life lessons, well provides opportunities for important life lessons to be taught.  Our Coaches taught our boys several things last night.  I am most proud that the coaches showed the boys they were proud of the boy's best efforts and encouraged better performance when perhaps best efforts were not shown.  The constructive comments warmed my heart and are a great example for the fans. 

Praying for the right words at the right time in all instances for our Coaches, Parents. Fans and Players.  Attitude helps determine altitude, right? 

My little 3 for 3 batter last night:

No comments: